Exclusive: ORR’s Spreadsheet on Pregnancy of Migrant Girls in its Custody
PDF: ORR pregnancies spreadsheet [Oct 2017 – mid-March 2019]
COO: country of origin
SIR: significant incident report
TOP: termination of pregnancy (a/k/a an abortion)
UAC: unaccompanied alien child
The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) takes custody of unaccompanied migrant minors in the US. Thanks to reporting and FOIA work from the New York Times, American Bridge, and Rachel Maddow, we knew that ORR HQ was bizarrely keeping close tabs on the pregnancies of girls in its custody as of June 2018, but is it still doing that? Even after a federal court told ORR to stop interfering with the right of these girls to have an abortion if they choose?
The answer is yes, they’re still keeping a centralized spreadsheet tracking each girl’s pregnancy: who impregnated her, whether the sex was consensual, whether she’s asked to get an abortion, stage of the pregnancy, and other highly personal information. I got the latest version through FOIA (up to mid-March 2019), and it’s posted above.
When unaccompanied minors cross into the United States without documentation, they’re kept in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), a division of the Administration for Children & Families (which is itself a part of the Department of Health & Human Services).
The first head of ORR appointed by the Trump administration, Scott Lloyd, had no experience with refugees, immigration, or anything along those lines. He’s an anti-abortion lawyer/crusader. Under his watch girls in ORR custody were physically prevented from getting abortions. That is, until the ACLU won a class-action lawsuit on behalf of these girls in March 2018. The court ordered Lloyd and ORR to stop interfering in any way with girls seeking abortions.
The previous month, the New York Times had broken the news that Lloyd was having ORR keep track of all pregnant girls in agency custody, putting all the info into a spreadsheet.
The Democratic oppo research PAC American Bridge requested this spreadsheet under the Freedom of Information Act, and, surprisingly, they got it. They provided it to Rachel Maddow, who reported it on March 15, 2019:
For each girl, the spreadsheet lists how far along the pregnancy is, who apparently impregnated her, whether the sex was consensual, if the girl wants an abortion, and other highly personal information (including, in a few cases, date of last menstrual period).
American Bridge made its request on June 22, 2018. Under FOIA, when you ask for documents, you get the documents as they existed on the day your request was received. So, even though the spreadsheet was released in mid-March 2019, it showed entries only until late June 2018, the time of American Bridge’s request.
Was ORR still keeping this spreadsheet in March 2019? Or had it stopped sometime after June 2018? Scott Lloyd left ORR in November 2018, so maybe the spreadsheet — which seems to be his creation — ended when he did? Nope.
I filed a FOIA request right after The Rachel Maddow Show aired on the Ides of March 2019, asking for the current version of that spreadsheet. I received a response startlingly quickly.
ORR is indeed still keeping this pregnancy/abortion spreadsheet. Or, they certainly were as of March 7, 2019, the date of the most recent entry, i.e. not even two months ago.